Lot # 042
Fall 2017 - 1st Session Live auction

Milton Avery
1893 - 1965 American

Autumn Meadow
oil on canvas board
signed and dated 1963 and on verso titled and dated on the gallery label
22 x 28 in  55.9 x 71.1cm

Provenance:
David Mirvish Gallery, Toronto, 1969
Collection of James and Elizabeth Eayrs, Toronto, February 28, 1969

Milton Avery’s amiable landscapes constantly remind one that “simple” is the opposite of “simplistic.” What do we see here? Guided by his characteristically laconic title, we read the yellow-green expanse as “meadow.” This field of colour (and land) is not unbroken, but instead is articulated with a light touch that suggests various flora and diverse topography. While we will likely interpret the trees in the foreground as conventional repoussoir elements that frame our view as three-dimensional, these forms lie flat on the support, as if pasted to the meadow. Trees on the hillsides are smaller, again suggesting distance in a conventional way.

A man of few words, Avery pronounced on the interpretation of his paintings in a 1931 interview: “The canvas must be completely organized through the perfect arrangement of form, line, color and space. Objects in the subject matter, therefore, cannot be painted representatively, but they must take their place in the whole design.” He continued, “To those who do not see the aim of the artist, the effect seems to be a distortion…but to the painter it is simply the result of a planned organization of all the elements that enter into a painting in the space of the canvas. El Greco elongated his figures for the same reason.” Painted in very thin oils to achieve Avery’s signature delicacy, Autumn Meadow is perfectly balanced between the visual pleasures of an observed landscape and the playful elements of an abstract composition.

We thank the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation for confirming their positive opinion of this work. A document from the foundation will accompany this lot.

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

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